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Pro Wrestling ZERO1-MAX, formerly known as Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE, is a Japanese professional wrestling promotion founded in 2001. It was affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance until late 2004. The promotion's name seems to refer to the year it was created.
In 2000, Shinya Hashimoto proposed an independent promotion within New Japan Pro Wrestling called New Japan Pro Wrestling ZERO; the idea was shot down, and when Hashimoto was fired by NJPW in November 2000, he registered the Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE name.
The promotion was founded by former New Japan Pro Wrestling stars Shinya Hashimoto and Shinjiro Ohtani. Over the years, they attracted talent from both New Japan and the independents, such as Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Masato Tanaka, Takao Omori, Ikuto Hidaka, and former RINGS fighter Wataru Sakata.
In the past ZERO1-MAX has had working agreements with Pro Wrestling NOAH, All Japan Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, RIKIPRO, HUSTLE, Big Mouth Loud, KING'S ROAD and Dragondoor (now El Dorado Wrestling) which enabled ZERO1-MAX wrestlers to challenge for and hold the other promotions' titles. Hashimoto won the Triple Crown heavyweight title, Takaiwa held NOAH's GHC junior heavyweight title, and ZERO1-MAX top Junior tag team of Ikuto Hidaka & Minoru Fujita placed 2nd in the 2005 "Differ Cup" tag tournament run by NOAH and won the NOAH GHC Junior tag team champions in March 2006.
ZERO1-MAX's structure was, until recently, very much like Genichiro Tenryu's old WAR promotion: the focus on the top star (in this case, Hashimoto), with other talent ranking below him. This is no longer the case however as Shinjiro Otani runs the promotion much different than Hashimoto.
On November 30, 2004 Hashimoto gave up ownership of the promotion, telling the press that due to financial problems he had decided to step away from the company. Hashimoto had been very injured physically that whole past year and needed surgery, but looked to be heading back to New Japan Pro Wrestling after recovering.
The promotion continued without any delays, stoppages or cancellations. A new parent company "First On Stage" was formed consisting of President Yoshiyuki Nakamura, Ring Announcer Oki Okidata, Shinjiro Otani and a company named Baltic Curry. The promotion was renamed Pro Wrestling ZERO1-MAX with Otani and Nakamura taking over the general operations.
Several notable foreign wrestlers also work, or have worked for the promotion. For example: Low Ki, A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, Steve Corino, Spanky, Paul London, Alex Shelley, Sonjay Dutt, Mike Knox, Sylvester Terkay, Super Crazy, Matt Striker, C.W. Anderson, Colt Cabana, CM Punk, Tom Howard, Ryan Sakoda and Aaron Aguilera.
Among the major changes to the federation's structure was the revival of the old AWA World Heavyweight Championship and joining the American Wrestling Association as the only Japanese member. At the same time the owner of the company's NWA promoting license, New Japan Pro Wrestling, took the license back for their own use.
On July 11, 2005 former owner and top star, Shinya Hashimoto, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at the age of 40.
ZERO1-MAX holds a Heavyweight tournament every Summer in the last week of July called the "Fire Festival" (Himatsuri) where the winner holds the "Fire Sword" (a katana) for a whole year until the next summer's tournament. They also hold a Yasukuni Shrine show every April and a yearly Junior Tournament called the "Tenka-Ichi Jr tournament."
On September 12, 2006, ZERO1-MAX joined 12 other pro wrestling companies and joined the Global Professional Wrestling Alliance (GPWA), an alliance that will keep the various promotions involved from stepping on each other toes and instead fostering an environment of cooperation rather than competition. The new alliance will also occasionally put on "Super Shows" where all the promotions will send fighters to compete representing their own companies under the GPWA banner. Pro Wrestling NOAH's CEO Mitsuharu Misawa was inaugurated as the first Chairman of the new alliance, with ZERO1-MAX's Yoshiyuki Nakamura announced as the company's President.
|Zero1 World Heavyweight Championship||Vacated||September 11, 2012|
|NWA United National Heavyweight Championship||James Raideen||October 16, 2012|
|Zero1 United States Heavyweight Championship||Mr. Wrestling III||November 9, 2008|
|Zero1 International Junior Heavyweight Championship||Takuya Sugawara||May 23, 2011|
|NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship||Akebono & Daisuke Sekimoto||February 3, 2013|
|NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championship||Frank David & Shawn Guinness||September 17, 2012|
|NWA Pan-Pacific Premium Heavyweight Championship||Vacated||September 11, 2012|
|Zero1 Australian National Championship||Ryan Eagles||June 16, 2012|
|Zero1 Mexico International Championship||Sicodélico Jr.||September 2012|
Zero1 also hold several annual tournaments:
|Tournament||Latest winner(s)||Date won|
|Fire Festival||Masato Tanaka||August 5, 2012|
|Tenka Ichi Junior Tournament||Jonathan Gresham||September 17, 2012|
|Furinkazan||James Raideen & Zeus||December 15, 2012|